ORANJEMUND – What started off as a social gathering among some of the residents of this small and secluded mining town has gradually blossomed into an annual trade fair that saw some exhibitors turned away this year due to lack of space.
A few years ago, the Oranjemund Diamond Festival, took place on a sports field but has graduated this year and was held at the old power station in the centre of town.
“We had to turn down individuals, SMEs and corporate entities who were keen to showcase their products and services. This is how far the event has grown over the years and it will continue to be a major player in the local economy,” said mayor of the town, Councillor Henry Coetzee, during the official opening on Saturday morning.
Delivering his keynote speech at the festival held under the theme ‘Our Diamonds, Our Hertitage, Our Pride’, ||Kharas Region Governor, Bernardus Swartbooi said he was pleased to see that the festival had grown in leaps and bounds.
“I know that government’s vision is to make Oranjemund a dynamic and economically diverse town,” said Swartbooi.
Another keynote speaker was Deputy Trade and Industry Minister, Tjekero Tweya, who said annual events such as diamond festivals created opportunities for Namibians to reflect and appreciate the value of the country’s natural resources, particularly diamonds.
Tweya said this natural resource was earning the country the much-needed revenue to ensure continued development of the country.
Meanwhile, Namdeb’s Chief Executive Officer, Inge Zaamwani-Kamwi, expressed the company’s commitment to Oranjemund. “Oranjemund is very important to Namdeb. The company will continue to be an important stakeholder in the town. We will continue to create a platform for other businesses in the town to ensure it becomes self-sustainable,” promised Zaamwani-Kamwi.
The festival, kicked off on Friday night, December 05, with a Miss Diamond extravaganza, which saw Marizan Fisch crowned as the overall winner.
The festivities continued on Saturday morning with a street parade with a police band and drum majorettes who led the way to the official opening. The festival culminated with a live music show on Saturday evening.
By Edgar Brandt